The injury bug hasn’t been kind.
Nobody knows that better than James Malm as the Hitmen forward has dealt with his fair share of injuries during the first half of the regular season.
But after the long wait, he’s back to rework his magic.
“It’s been a rocky season for me, I’ve never experienced this,” he said. “It’s been a mental grind to stay focused and not get too down especially in my 20-year-old season to miss as much time as I have. I definitely missed being on the bench with the boys.
“There was a strong desire to be out there. It brought my intensity up to get back sooner rather than later because it’s boring to just sit around and not being able to help your teammates. I’m thrilled to be back and be the best version of myself I can be.”
Malm has appeared in just 15 games thus far after being held out of eight straight games prior to last weekend when he returned for the three-in-three set. Before that, he missed five games after starting the season banged up from an injury sustained while he was attending Calgary Flames Rookie Camp.
It was a lot of time spent in the press box, time he used as a learning experience.
“I definitely learned a lot seeing the game from a different angle,” he said. “You see the space that’s open, which are the right plays to make and why certain plays break down like they do at times.
“It was a real eye-opener for me and now something I’m going to keep in the back of my mind going forward.”
He made a solid return recording two assists while firing 11 shots on goal last weekend as the Hitmen finished with a 1-1-1 mark. Headed into it, Malm knew that he wouldn’t make an immediate impact, needing to shake off the rust from sitting out for almost a month.
It’s going to take time to get back to his usual form, and he’s more than prepared to put in the extra work to do just that.
“Being out for that long takes away your confidence and general feeling on the ice,” he said. “It took a game to really get that confidence back to get into rhythm and after that I felt right at home and was pretty pleased with how I performed.
“It’s unfortunate that the break is right after this weekend but I’m dialed in to make a good impression and hopefully help the team get four points.”
And as he mentioned with the holiday break in sight, this break will be a little different for the Langley product.
“I think my family will understand if I’m trying to find ice to get some extra skating in because I haven’t really had a ton of time get those sessions in,” Malm said. “Obviously it will be nice to see them again and spend time together but given the circumstances, it’s going to be an important 10 days for me.
“I want to get back to being 100% myself.”